CITY OF SALT LAKE — Two agencies are making big investments in fast chargers for electric vehicles in Utah. This will make road trips to national parks and rural areas of the state more viable. Its goal is to eliminate range anxiety while accelerating EV adoption.
Rocky Mountain Power plans to spend $50 million on 20 new charging locations in Utah, with the first coming online in the spring, according to James Campbell, the company’s director of innovation and sustainability.
“You can charge quickly and it will be reliable,” Campbell said. “One of the things Rocky Mountain Power is going to commit to doing is making sure these chargers are well maintained and in operating condition so you can roam anywhere in the state and get a quick charge.”
Peter Brownstein, an electric vehicle owner in Salt Lake City, said he is happy with his Chevy Bolt. However, he has yet to take a trip because of concerns about the availability of fast chargers.
“Right now, it’s been a little limited, and you have to plan carefully,” Brownstein said, adding, “There have been occasions where if I had to go somewhere, we could look around and find another vehicle to take.”
The energy company will offer two types of EV chargers: 150 kW and 350 kW. They can provide 100 miles of range in 12 minutes and 5 minutes respectively. Newer models of EVs are starting to offer higher-capacity charging capability.
Complete construction of the 20 loading sites will be completed in two to three years, Campbell said. Locations will include Vernal, Moab and Delta, and each location will have at least four porters.
“We’re going to put porters in Vernal so you can get off on Highway 40. You can go to Dinosaur National Monument,” Campbell said. “We’re going to put a lot of porters along the Wasatch Front as well, but also to Delta so you can go to the Great Basin National Monument.”
In addition, the Utah Department of Transportation is receiving $36 million in federal infrastructure funding to install new electric vehicle chargers over the next five years. The agency has identified 18 areas they would like to target in the first year, and they must be along interstate highways and certain highways under federal guidelines, according to Lyle McMillan, director of strategic investments at UDOT.
Along Interstate 15, areas include Tremonton, Nephi, and Beaver. More are planned along Interstate 70, Interstate 80, Interstate 84, US Route 6 and US Route 191. A complete list of your destination locations appears at the end of this article.
UDOT’s approach is to partner with private companies. Federal funding would cover 80% of the installation cost, then the private partner would be responsible for 20%, in addition to owning, operating and maintaining the sites.
UDOT wants drivers to have access to fast chargers every 50 miles across the state. If the agency cannot find private partners in certain locations, the state will own and operate these chargers, McMillan said.
On the other hand, Rocky Mountain Power will own and operate its own chargers.
After the first year of installing UDOT’s EV chargers, McMillan said the agency will have a public process and engage stakeholders to determine additional locations for future chargers. Authorities would like to focus on Utah’s major highways “that lead to places people want to go, like lakes, national parks and scenic drives,” he said.
Brownstein, owner of the electric vehicle, said he was optimistic about the release of more chargers that would allow him to take a worry-free trip to Boise, Las Vegas or Denver. He said the investment “really helps the transition to cleaner vehicles and makes it more of an option for more people.”
Currently, about 3% of Utahns have EVs, according to Campbell.
Below is the list that UDOT has provided of the areas they are targeting fast chargers in the coming year:
- Brigham City/Perry
- Cove Fort
- Ivie Creek Rest Area
- Thompson Springs
- US-40/US-80 junction
Source : ksltv.com